Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: George Scarbo

Peter George Scarbo was born in Minnesota on August 10, 1898, according to his World War I draft card. He has not been found in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. In the 1905 Minnesota Decennial Census, he was the oldest of three sons born to Gustaf and Gertrude; his family name was spelled “Skarbo” which was the spelling for his grandfather and father in the 1895 Minnesota Decennial Census. His father was a Norwegian emigrant and a farmer.

In the 1910 census the family lived in Cass Lake, Minnesota; the village did not have street addresses. His father was a laborer who did odd jobs. Scarbo signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918; he spelled his surname with a “c” instead of a “k”. His occupation was laborer and described as medium height and build with blue eyes and brown hair.

In 1920 the Scarbos, with a “c”, remained in Cass Lake; the family had added a daughter. Scarbo and his father worked at a saw mill. Information on his art training has not been found. His father passed away in April 1929 according to the Minnesota, Death Index, 1908-2002 at Ancestry.com.

Brownsville Herald (Texas), Comic Zoo, 8/23/1936

Brownsville Herald (Texas), Comic Zoo
with Scrapbook Sketches, 2/28/1937

Comic Zoo with Scrapbook Sketches, 8/22/1937
original art courtesy of Heritage Auctions

Scarbo married Margaret when he was 27 years old, according to the 1930 census. The couple and his mother lived in Toledo, Ohio at 1232 1/2 Superior Street. He was a newspaper artist. In April 1933 he took over the art chores on The Clownies. Other strips he produced were Scrapbook Sketches, Animal Cracks, and Comic Zoo

At some point before 1935 he moved to Cleveland where he lived at 11906 Brighton, according to the 1940 census. The newspaper artist had four years of high school education.

Scarbo passed away on February 13, 1966 in Cleveland. His death was reported in The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio) on February 15.
George Scarbo, 67, a cartoonist for the Newspaper Enterprise Association for 30 years, died Sunday on Lutheran Hospital after a long illness.
He came to Cleveland in 1931 from Toledo, where he had worked for the old Toledo News-Bee.
In 1934 he started a comic strip called "Tiny Mites," but soon returned to editorial cartoons.
Mr. Scarbo is survived by his wife, Margaret; two brothers, Herman and Arthur, and his mother, Gertrude, all of Cass Lake, Minn. The Scarbo home is at 11906 Brighton Avenue S.W.
Services will be at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 20300 Hilliard Boulevard, Rocky River, at 1:30 p.m. today.
His mother passed away April 1973 according to the Social Security Death Index. 

—Alex Jay


George Scarbo is one of my favorite funny animal cartoonists. "The Comic Zoo" has such rich drawing in it, and beautiful inking. I'm not sure if he favored pen or brush. The little bear characters he did were certainly worthy rivals of Jimmy Swinnerton's pioneering bear cartoons. I wish there was a book collection of "The Comic Zoo". Thanks Allan and Alex Jay for throwing the spotlight over Scarbo's way.
Not real good with this computer stuff so if there's two comments I apologize my condolences go out to you I am so sorry for your loss I had no idea that we were living so close I found some of mr. Scarbo signed artwork the only Sports Stuff that I could find that is what started my research again I'm sorry for your loss best wishes lost my mother not too long ago
My sympathy goes out to the family I didn't know that he was living that close to me I I started this research because I have some signed artwork buy by George scarbo seems seems like the only
If anybody knows anything about signed artwork drum George garble contactdru rj821050@gmail.com
I hate this supposed to be George scarbo contact me I have signed artwork
I agree with everybody today! I saw Scarbo's work every weekend in the Vancouver Sun, as I was groaning up. Oh, I mean growing up. I could take or leave the gags, but the drawing was always fascinating. There always seemed to be something more going on with the characters, besides the gags. They were depicted so richly that it always seemed to imply a life and intelligence that I just couldn't quite see. Thanks to your piece today, now I know why he disappeared from The Sun. I agree with Mark (hi Mark!) that I wish there were a book of Scarbo's work.

And Allan — I couldn't agree more about the limp and useless quality of the weekend Out Our Way. Such a poor counterpart to the genius-level dailies! I have never, in all my born days (!), seen anybody express tbis criticism until now. Thank you for making me feel less alone in my crabbiness!
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